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n. pl. trip·o·lis
A porous, lightweight, siliceous sedimentary rock composed of the shells of diatoms or radiolarians or of finely weathered chert, used as an abrasive and a polish.

[French, probably after TripoliLebanon.]


1. A historical region of northern Africa roughly coextensive with the ancient region of Tripolitania. It became part of the Barbary States in the 16th century and later passed to Turkey and Italy.
2. A city of northwest Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea north-northeast of Beirut. Probably founded after the seventh century bc, it was capital of a Phoenician federation and later flourished under the Seleucid and Roman empires. Tripoli was captured by the Arabs in ad 638 and taken by the Crusaders in 1109 after a long siege.
3. The capital and largest city of Libya, in the northwest part of the country on the Mediterranean Sea. Settled by Phoenicians from Tyre, it has Roman and Byzantine remains.

Tri·pol′i·tan (trĭ-pŏl′ĭ-tn) adj. & n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
He was a man of courage and firmness, who had distinguished himself in our Tripolitan war, and, from being accustomed to naval discipline, was considered by Mr.
1801: The American Navy schooner USS Enterprise captured a Tripolitan polacca at the start of the First Barbary War, fought by the US and Sweden against four North African states known as the Barbary States.
Tuesday couscous is served with a simple soup and Shabbat dinner couscous with mafroum (Tripolitan beef-stuffed potatoes in tomato sauce) or boulet (a Tunisian stew with vegetables but no tomato sauce).
For example, when questioned in London by Thomas Jefferson as to why his country was making war with the United States when it had done Tripoli no harm, the Tripolitan ambassador invoked the Koran, saying that it was the right and duty of Muslims to make war on any who did not acknowledge their authority.
Navy launched a series of maneuvers against Tripoli, including an effort to obliterate a large portion of the Tripolitan force in one fell swoop by turning a captured ship into a "floating volcano" and sailing it into the enemy fleet.
According to Cathcart, all of the North African Jews were linked together, and, so long as America's business was "transacted in Barbary by limits of the mosaic law," Americans should "expect nothing but dishonorable terms, exhorbitant charges and deception." Cathcart reserved his most lethal venom for the Tripolitan Jew Leon Farfara, who, "like Jerry Sneak," offered to act as an intermediary and requested $1,000 for his services after Cathcart had already delivered America's consular presents and initiated contact with the ruling bashaw.
While she'd been sleeping, another Tripolitan, Omar, had met up with friends and other locals in the predominantly Sunni city's main square.
The Tripolitan War of 1801-05 shows that the United States has been negotiating with piratical or terrorist states for more than two centuries and that ex-prisoners of war often face tough questions about the events that led to their captivity.
Protection of the Commerce and Seamen of the United States Against the Tripolitan Cruisers
Included in this exhibition is a 7-foot-long gold Miquelet-lock musket given to President Thomas Jefferson in 1805 by the Bey of Tunisia after the Tripolitan Wars.
ambassadors Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja, the Tripolitan ambassador, in London to negotiate peace and stop the Barbary terror, seizure and enslavement of U.S.